It’s becoming more common to see and hear a wine writer, adviser, sommelier or adviser described as a Master of Wine or MW. So who are these wonderful people and what allows them to have this very prestigious and hard to achieve title.
Master of Wine is a qualification awarded after considerable study and rigorous examination by the UK based Institute of Masters of Wine. It is recognised as one of the highest levels of professional qualification in the wine industry. It is not an academic qualification. Potential applicants are required to have demonstrated significant wine industry experience and knowledge before being allowed to start the course study work.
The qualifying examination consists of three sections. The first part consists of multiple blind tastings. The theory section covers several areas of the wine business, including production and wine management. And finally there is a requirement for a written research thesis. A Master of Wine must pass all sections of the examination.
The first MW qualified in 1953. Only 6 of the first 21 candidates were successful in becoming Masters of Wine. MW’s work in all areas of the wine industry as wine critics, consultants, producers, sommeliers, communicators, etc.
There are currently 312 Masters of Wine worldwide living in 24 countries. Famous MW names include Jancis Robinson, Tim Atkin, Debra Meiburg, Peter Scudamore-Smith, Nick Bulleid, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Michael Hill Smith….